by Skip Cohen
Ever move and hang on to something from your old house that was special? You took it with you for good luck or maybe just a sweet memory. Well, this post is definitely an encore and I realized the other day, by closing Photo Resource Hub and bringing everything together here at SCU, I lost a very special post. This site just wouldn't be right without my tribute to Jake!
This has nothing whatsoever to do with photography, at least not directly. I’m not sharing it to get sympathy, but I do so appreciate all of you who follow my blog. I try to give you material to help make your business stronger, but today I hope this will make your life stronger. An event last week left me thinking about how precious life truly is. This is a stern reminder to stop and smell the roses every day, because you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.
Sheila and I left Ohio and moved to Sarasota a year ago. We moved to be closer to my folks who I’ve written about in the past. A side benefit we never anticipated was having great neighbors, especially Jake and Maryellen. They might have been a little older physically (in their 70’s), but their attitudes put them in their thirties! For example, we pulled into the driveway last year on Halloween and a priest and nun were standing there with trick or treat bags! It was Jake and Maryellen making the rounds.
Last Thursday I walked outside after being on the computer for a few hours. I heard somebody screaming for help. It was Maryellen and I ran next door. Jake had fallen in the hallway, was face down and she couldn’t turn him over to clear his airway. Jake was a big guy, easily 6’ 1” and Maryellen is probably a 100 pounds soaking wet. I got him turned over and she immediately starting doing mouth to mouth just as the paramedics arrived.
Jake was in cardiac arrest and although they worked on him for a good twenty minutes before rushing him to the hospital, he was already gone. There was nothing anybody could have done. His heart simply stopped. I’m sure there’s a more complicated explanation, but what difference does it make?
I went home, sat down and simply cried. It was only a few days earlier that I sat with him in the hospital listening to him talk about how much he wanted to get home. He’d had bypass surgery for the second time in twenty years along with a new valve and couldn’t wait to take it all out for a test drive. We talked about the chance that he might be able to play golf again. We talked about family, Maryellen and simply hung out to pass the time.
I only knew Jake a year, but he was like the older brother I never had. We’d talk every day at the mailbox. The four of us had gone out to dinner a few times. He’d bring our garbage cans back up to the house on garbage day, because the doctor told him he needed more exercise. Molly the Wonder Dog absolutely loved him and he’d get down on one knee so she could lick his face. If we were away he kept an eye on our house and when they were gone we did the same for them.
We respected each other’s privacy, but were always there for each other. We were simply good neighbors. I loved having Jake and Maryellen next door and was looking forward to lots of fun times ahead, but God had other plans.
So Jake, this is for you buddy. I’m going to miss you more than you could possibly have ever known. We’re going to keep an eye on Maryellen and at some point we’ll laugh about things you did or said. I’ll repeat your favorite joke before every workshop I do and think about you every time Molly starts to run next door to find you. You had a huge personality that will not be replaced. I’m so sad that I just figured you’d be around and never really told you how much we appreciated your friendship.
And that’s my point…there’s so much we all take for granted. We go to sleep each night believing there will always be tomorrow. We waste time worrying about things that are completely unimportant, often missing some of the most special moments in our lives.
That night I hugged Sheila tighter than I’ve ever hugged her before. I slept most of that night holding her hand. I finally fell asleep after spending hours thinking about how quickly life can change.
What good is all the work you’re doing if you’re not taking the time to enjoy what’s most important to you? What good is working to build your business or your reputation if you don’t have time to be with the people closest to you?
I think it was my buddy, Scott Bourne, who said, capture each image as if it was the last thing people would ever see of your work. Well, take that concept a few steps further. Think about everything you do in life the same way. If right now, as you are reading this, you simply disappeared from life as we know it – would everybody important to you know how much you cared?
It’s a really simple concept this morning…stop wasting time.
Photo Credit: © Tsz01 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images